Mega Balkan trip 2021, Episode 2

This episode is about the whole reason to take on this trip, the Transalpina and the Transfararasan.
Two passes next to each other with the Transfagarasan as the more known pass, partly because the guys from Top Gear named it the most beautiful driving road of Europe but i disagree, i’ll get back to that later on.

Episode 1 ended at a hotel at the bottom of the mountain where the Transalpina passes but it was still quite a ride to get there.
Not a problem because it was still a bit chilli but sunny and it was a nice road with great scenery, perfect to start the day and get into the groove.

At some point the GPS said right but it was closed by a roadworker and the sign said the Transalpina was left???
A bit confused i turned into the parking lot at the T splitting, there where some stands and i could get a coffee.
At that stand i met some bikers, a Belgium guy on his way with two locals and they told me the sign is wrong and always was.

When you go left like the sign said you never get to the Transalpina and it seems that nobody knows why it is wrong or why it never has been changed.
The closure to the right turned out not to be a problem, the roadworker had traffic duty because one halve of the road was closed for repairs and both ways had to take turns on passing so after the coffee break i could continue in the right direction.

I did got stuck behind some other riders which where difficult to pass as they went like crazy on the straight but couldn’t handle the corners but there it was not safe to pass.
Even the few corners i could oversee i could not use to overtake them as some of the riders went wide and two of them almost crashed but didn’t seem to understand that they shouldn’t go faster than they can handle.
Just hope they don’t learn the hard way after all.

At the pass i did stop a few times to take in the scenery and take some pictures leaving me with more than enough road to ride at my own speed.
And that is not even the main reason why i think this pass is a better riders road than the Transfagarasan but why it is has to wait until the story gets there… don’t get ahead of ourselves.

Along the way i came across the guys form the coffee stand quite some times and even after the pass they went the same way.
At some point after studying their riding behaviour i asked one of the locals about the rules and he said that they don’t apply for motorcycles and according to the reaction and behaviour of the people in the cars it might be true too.
I already adapted to the local riding at the first day in Romania but having it confirmed made the rest of my time in Romania even more relaxed.

On my way to the Transfagarasan i ended up at a busy road. On the map it seemed like a nice road which it was but they don’t have a lot of highways and this turned out to be a main road but there where no options in my direction.
The scenery was good but filming the back of a truck and some overtaking which would look idiotic on camera due to lack of overview was not worth the memory.
Halve way that road it started to rain as well but it kept going, a lack of traffic lights did help a lot.
It was a bit boring after the first halve of the day but not halve as bad as these kind of roads in the Netherlands.

When i got off that road on a connecting inland road to the next main road i had to make a detour. I had to cross a bridge but there was no bridge and as far as i could see there never was just like there also was no ferry and no road leading to the point where i should cross the river.
Just had to follow the only direction of the road and eventually i found a bridge.
Not much later i got to the next boring road but they where only few on this trip and a necessary evil to get to the places i wanted within the time i had.
Petrol is something that made me nervous a few times, at moments there are more than enough gas stations but when i needed them they seemed scares.
Just after the roundabout where i had to go right towards the Transfagarasan there was one. According to the cue it was one of only few and a sign that it was a smart decision to fill Ragnarok up before heading to the pass.

Next strange problem, i could not get back to where i should go?? Only one exit with one way to go and it was the wrong way.
Luckily just after 1,5km there was a side road where i could turn around.
Just after getting back on track a entered the town where the section ended but as i said, i don’t have plans but guidelines and i started the next section.
I didn’t want to stop and i felt like i could find a place after the Transfagarasan but when i came closer a big cloud started to consume the mountain top and the mountain got smaller by the minute… maybe better to find a place to stay after all.
Just at the base of the pass there was a hotel where i decided to stay the night hoping that it would be better in the morning.

It was Belgian day i guess because after walking past the shops and have a beer i went to see if the restaurant at the hotel was open and at that moment another Belgian guy came in.
He was passing through on his bike and was looking for food. He was on his way home for an important appointment but he must do the Transfagarasan.
He was a bit restless and the clouds where not helping as he was foreseeing not seeing anything at all.
We had a meal together and i went outside with him to take a look at his chain as he was a bit doubtful about the tension. It was not the best any more but i told him that if he kept some tension on it while riding it would be okay.
As we stood next to the bikes we looked up and saw the clouds disappear even faster as they came and i told him he might be one lucky bastard.
If you don’t like the weather in Transylvania you just need to wait a few minutes is what they say and it is true. Problem is when you do like the weather it can change as fast none the less so when you decide to come here prepare for the worst, hope for the best and accept what you get.

The next day it was dry but cloudy, as it is chilli in the morning this time of the year (this morning was the first of September) i already put on my raincoat as a wind stopper and the medium gloves so i am prepared if it changes.
To give you an idea how close at the foot the hotel was, this was 50 meters after leaving the parking lot.

This day i had less time to get into the groove and is i got close to the bit where it’s all about it was raining again but you can’t have it all.
At least the clouds stayed high and i could still enjoy the dramatic scenery and that’s where we get to what i said in the opening about this not being the better road over the Transalpina and it’s not because it rained here although it has a part in it.
I think the Transalpina does have less rain and therefore more likely to be better to ride but the road is in better shape and you can see further ahead i most places.
The scenery at the Transfagarasan does feel a bit more dramatic and you have the feeling that it is higher but as a matter of fact the Transalpina is the highest paved road in Romania at 2145 meters above sea level against 2134 for the Transfagarasan.
But have a look for yourself, i leave you with a few pictures and the video for this episode en next week we continue the trip going down the Transalpina crossing off one bucketlist thing i had no control over and just could hope it happened and on to the next destination(s).

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